Salvatore Ronci

January 19, 1937November 9, 2020

Salvatore “Sal” Ronci, a musician and educator beloved to family, friends, students, and audiences in the Miami and Daytona Beach areas, died November 9, 2020 of complications from COVID-19 and Parkinson’s Disease. He was 83. Born Salvatore Ronciglione in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 19, 1937, to Italian immigrant Giuseppe Ronciglione (Joseph Ronci) and first-generation Italian-American Rose Aveni. Infant Sal moved with his family to New Haven, Connecticut, after his family home burned in a fire. He attended Ezekiel Cheever Grammar School and Wilbur Cross High School, where he discovered a gift and love for music, later studying trumpet with Boston Symphony Orchestra great, Armando Ghitalla while attending the prestigious Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. His family moved to Florida in 1956, Sal transferring to the University of Miami in Coral Gables where he performed, arranged, recorded, and toured with The Coralairs, a five-man vocal group primarily of fellow UM students. The group enjoyed a local top-10 hit with “A Lover is A Fool,” introduced the now-classic Christmas song “Buona Natale” to a national audience, and headlined Havana’s Sans Souci nightclub on the eve of the Cuban revolution before disbanding in 1959. Sal later returned to UM to complete bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education. While at UM, Sal met Judith “Judy” Cantor. The two married in 1958, settled in Miami, reared three children, and launched successful careers as public-school teachers, Sal continuing to book gigs as a trumpet and electric-bass player, singer, and band leader. As a licensed realtor he worked hard to help secure a comfortable retirement for himself and Judy. After 30 years as one the Miami-Dade school district’s top music teachers (with notable stints at Kinloch Park Jr. High, Palmetto Sr. High, and Glades Middle, among other schools), Sal retired with Judy to Ormond Beach, Florida, where his parents and sisters lived and where he launched a successful second act as leader of the Sal Ronci Big Band, known for its popular series of performances at the Daytona Beach Bandshell. Sal was especially proud to share his love of jazz through “The Story of Jazz,” a live in-school education program he created and presented for students of Volusia County Public Schools. In addition to Judy, his wife of 62 years, Sal’s survivors include daughter Julie Sipes (Ken) and son Michael Ronci of Ormond Beach and son Jeff Ronci (Juan Bosco Talavera) of Miami; sisters Loretta Tuttle Santiago (Efrain) of Edgewater, Florida, and Marie Richardson (Ross) of Daytona Beach; Uncle Carlyle Aveni of New Haven, Connecticut; Aunt Anna Ronciglione Durkin of Philadelphia; nearly two dozen nieces and nephews; loving cousins; friends and fellow musicians; and countless students and audiences he inspired and entertained through the years. Services are postponed until the novel coronavirus pandemic is under control. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Halifax Humane Society of Volusia County or a charity of your choice.



No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Show Your


Salvatore Ronci

have a memory or condolence to add?

Janice Lago Hardaswick

November 18, 2020

I am so sorry for your loss. It’s been over 60 years since I’ve visited Sal, Loretta and Marie when my parents, John and Carmella Lago visited Joe and Rose in New Haven. Many sweet memories of you. Cousin, Janice

Jill Flingos

November 14, 2020

I am so saddened to see this. I took violin in the 7th grade and he was my teacher. He was a great teacher and I was temporarily inspired to continue with the violin through college to some day play professionally in an Orchestra. To my dismay he got a job with a high school, which he said was his dream job and he left. That was the end of my violin career. He's one of the few teachers I still think about and reading his obituary I see what a truly interesting life he had. He brought his enthusiasm and knowledge base to his teaching. Back when teachers hand-wrote comments in report cards he gave me a "Bravissimo!", which meant a lot to me and obviously I still remember. He was able to get 7th graders excited about Johan Stauss and waltzes. So many great memories and I was only his student for one year; I know his loss will be felt by many. Godspeed Mr. Ronci😢

Robby Turner

November 13, 2020

No doubt Sal touched thousands of lives during his career, myself included. 25 years later I’m still playing bass in a big band. God bless Sal.

Karen Sprague Annichino

November 12, 2020

So sorry to hear about the passing of Mr Ronci. I was in his 1st chorus and orchestra class 🎤🎶🎻 at Kinloch Jr High 1966 -1967. He was a great teacher. I was honored to receive the vocal award from him. He had referred me to a summer chorus class at Fla State University. I loved it. We stayed in the dorms and had so much fun. I appreciate him referring me. 😊 He will be missed. 🙏 Praying for his family and friends during this time. May he RIP. 💗

Daiva & Nia Fernandez

November 12, 2020

Dearest Jeff & Family,
We're so sorry to hear of the passing of your father. Nia and I are sending you love and light during this difficult time. We love you!!

Carlos Villa

November 12, 2020

He showed me band, and I'm eternally grateful for it. I'm sure there will be hundreds of message like this pouring in from students he had in the past. While I eventually made my career in science, band was always a big part of my journey there. He showed me band and opened my brain up to music. Through that he taught me passion, discipline, and dedication. And from being in band, I learned friendship, love, and even a little mischief. Ronci is a legend, and he will be missed, but he will live in on all of his students.

Roslyn Buckner

November 12, 2020

So sad to hear of my favorite music teacher’s passing. I spent my favorite times learning to sing with him. I still sing some of the songs we learned. May he find eternal peace as he now teaches the angels in heaven to sing. You will be missed.

Alicia (Baro) Adkins

November 12, 2020

Over the last 40 + years, I have never forgotten my wonderful chorus teacher at Kinloch Park. He was a kind, caring gentleman that took the time to know his students. He left his mark on me, not only for those 3 years, but also for life. I will always be grateful that I was blessed to have him during those formative years growing up. God bless his family and may their memories bring comfort to their hearts...

Cynthia Salerno

November 12, 2020

My love and condolences to you, Judy, and family. What a beautiful obituary you wrote. Although I never really got to know Sal well, as an adult, I feel like I know him well, because of all the stories my mom used to tell me about "Cousin Sally" throughout the years. I know they were very close and she loved him very much. Thinking of you and sending my prayers to you all during this difficult time. Love, Cyndi

Lauren (Oister) Jopling

November 11, 2020

I am proud and honored to be one of the countless students Sal inspired through music education. His legacy will carry on through us as the life long impression and appreciation we have for music in our lives. Warmest sympathies for the family’s loss.


Learn more about the Ronci name